UPCOMING EVENT: Two Wings Take Flight: Writers, Poets, Scholars and Artists Reflect on Randall Kenan’s South

On March 31st at 5pm the Department of English and Comparative Literature (in partnership with American Studies and Sexuality Studies) will host “Two Wings Take Flight” a roundtable and veritable who’s who of writers, poets, scholars and artists engaging with the legacy of Randall Kenan’s work and Black Southern literary traditions.

See the attached flyer for details and to register. This is one event you do not want to miss!

Two Wings Take Flight Flyer

UPCOMING EVENT OCT 21: Stephanie Burt in conversation with Jacob Lau – Advice from the Lights Event: Ackland Art Museum NEA Big Read Series

On October 21st the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will kick off a year of events reflecting LGBTQ+ lives and experiences with a conversation between Literary Critic, Poet, and Professor Stephanie Burt (English, Harvard University) and Dr. Jacob Lau (Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC at Chapel Hill). Burt will be reading from and discussing her poetry collection Advice from the Lights (2017), which “weaves together extraordinary sequences, including Stephanie poems about the poet’s imagined girlhood; poems on particular years of the poet’s early life, each with its own memories, desires, insecurities, and pop songs; and versions of poems by the Greek poet Callimachus, whose present-day incarnation worries (who doesn’t?) about mortality, the favor of the gods, and the career of Taylor Swift.”

Though attendees must register, the event is free and begins over Zoom at 7:30. For more information and to register:  https://events.ackland.org/event/nea-big-read-keynote102120/

Free virtual book discussions about Advice from the Lights will take place after the event from October – December. Once registered participants will receive a free copy of Burt’s collection. For more information on discussion dates and details see the link below.

The series and event is part of the Ackland receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Big Read Grant and has been organized in partnership with Chapel Hill Public Library and Carolina Public Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UPCOMING EVENT OCT 9 & 13: Queer MiniCon 2020

Sexuality Studies has partnered with the LGBTQ Center and Honors Carolina Pride to host Queer MiniCon. QMC will be two days of online presentations, scheduled for October 9th and 13th, during Carolina’s ten-day observance of National Coming Out Day from October 6th to 16th. Dr. Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies, will present the keynote address. Presentations will be open to the public via go.unc.edu/QMC2020.

In it’s first iteration, Queer MiniCon will feature seventeen presentations chosen by representatives from sponsoring UNC-Chapel Hill departments on LGBTQIA+ affirming research, lived experiences, passion projects, and creative expression. UNC System students, faculty, staff, and postdocs will queer, (that is to say, deconstruct or question assumptions around) everything from social network mapping technologies, in Katelyn Campbell’s “Lesbian Connections: Critical Social Network Mapping and Queer Archival Methods;” to self-perception and dream environments in Sergio Jiminez’s “blue-light-being;” and conventional ideas about masculinity within both dominant and Black culture in Antonia Randolph’s keynote “Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture.”

For more information and a link to the virtual event please visit: https://lgbtq.unc.edu/news-and-events/calendar/queer-minicon-2020#

UPCOMING EVENT: Queer MiniCon 2020 – Call for Academic and Creative Proposals

The LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill is partnering with Sexuality Studies, UNC SAGA, Student Life and Leadership, and Honors Carolina Pride to host Carolina’s first-ever Queer MiniCon on October 9th and 13th.

This convention honors National Coming Out Day by showcasing LGBTQIA+ research and expression in NC.

Call for Academic and Creative Proposals

Queer MiniCon will be an opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty, postdocs, and staff from all North Carolina institutions of higher education to share research and creative work affirming the experiences of LGBTQIA+ communities and individuals.

We’re looking for 5 to 10-minute proposals for everything from polished academic presentations to early research explorations, to the results of obscure deep-dives and personal expression. We encourage submissions of existing works and early explorations of new work; including that which has previously been presented or exhibited elsewhere.

Considering mini-proposals in the following categories:

  • Academic Paper/Presentation
  • Lived Experience Presentations
  • Creative Performance or Recording
  • Visual Artwork (Static Images)
  • Written Poem or Short Story
  • Category-defying works

The call for proposals will close at 11:55 pm on Sunday, September 20, 2020.

The LGBTQ Center will contact selected presenters and exhibitors by Friday, September 25 to confirm participation and schedule live-streamed sessions.

Click here to learn more or visit go.unc.edu/QMC2020 for submission notes, frequently asked questions, and accessibility details.

UPCOMING EVENT: Sexuality Studies Program Open House


Please join the Program in Sexuality Studies for an Open House in our newly-revamped lounge space in Smith Building.

We have redesigned the space to be more inviting and to house our fledgling library, donated by alum, Phillip Poovey. We will have good food and drinks and even a few door prizes.

Event Details:
Location: Smith Building, Third Floor
Time/Date: Tuesday, October 8, 4-6PM

Upcoming Event: The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

 The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

The Triangle Global British History Seminar of the Carolina Seminars presents:

George Severs, U. Cambridge, and U California, Riverside

Oct. 11, 4-6pm, National Humanities Center

From Mr. Severs:

This paper examines the history of Section 28 of the UK Local Government Act 1988, which forbade local authorities in the UK from ‘promoting homosexuality’. Section 28 was spoken of in the gay press as the “challenge of the century,” sparking the largest movement of lesbians, gay men and their allies in British history. Despite this, very little scholarly attention has been paid to Section 28, and that which has is often blinkered by assumption.

I take on two major misunderstandings about the Section’s history: that it was the brainchild of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and that Section 28 had no impact. Though many people in the academy and the media speak of Section 28 as “Thatcher’s Clause,” my research shows that, in fact, Thatcher had no part in its drafting and in its passage through parliament. Her broad assaults on left-wing Labour-controlled councils have been confused with direct support for Section 28, which has served to blind us to the wider cast of actors at work in this story. Moreover, because no council was ever charged with contravening Section 28, many have written it off as an ineffectual piece of legislation. I argue, however, that looking at the last rung of the legal ladder is not a fit model for determining the impact of the law. Instead, I demonstrate that Section 28 was implemented across several councils, with lesbian and gay groups stripped of their funding and ostracised from the local council. Yet the main impact Section 28 had was in creating a large, diverse movement of resistance to it. I chart the history of this international movement, and show how it directly spawned the radical HIV/AIDS movement of the 1990s.

To request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please write to Prof. Susan Pennybacker (pennybac@email.unc.edu)

This event is co-sponsored by The Triangle Legal History Seminar, The Transnational and Global Modern History Seminar, Department of History (UNC-CH), Program in Sexuality Studies (UNC-CH), and the Center for European Studies (UNC-CH).

FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY: Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program

RYE 2019 Fellowship

The Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program, hosted by the statewide LGBTQ non-profit organization Equality North Carolina, is seeking applicants for their 2019-2020 Fellowship cohort. The deadline for all applicants is 11:59pm on Monday, September 23, 2019.


    • Applicants are between 18-28 years old;
    • Living in rural NC;
    • Strong interest in developing a community-based social justice project serving their communities.

Equality North Carolina is committed to cultivating a diverse cohort of fellows. As such, they especially welcome applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, including but not limited to: black and brown folks, people with disabilities, DACA or undocumented folks, individuals from lower income backgrounds, first generation college/community college students and recent graduates, and/or people living with HIV/AIDS.

For more information, please visit their website here. The application link can be found here. If you have any questions, please email fellowship@equalitync.org.

Upcoming Event: LGBTQ Representation and Complexity in Cinema with Filmmaker Rhys Ernst


Join us for a conversation with filmmaker Rhys Ernst on Thursday, August 29 at 5:30pm in Toy Lounge (4th floor of Dey Hall).

Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and artist. He was a Producer and Director on Amazon’s Transparent and created the title sequence for the series. Ernst was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award for directing and producing the webseries Transparent: This Is Me, which won a Special Recognition GLAAD Award. In 2016 he teamed up with Focus Features to create the online series, We’ve Been Around. In addition to the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Ernst has shown work at Sundance, Oberhausen, and The Hammer Museum; he has won awards at Outfest, Chicago International Film Festival and the LA Transgender Film Festival; and he was a Point Scholar, a Project Involve Fellow, and was awarded with the 2015 Point Foundation Horizon Award and the ACLU Liberty Award for his work on transgender representation in the media. He received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA from CalArts. He just wrapped his feature film, Adam, produced by James Schamus and Howard Gertler, which premiered at the Sundance 2019 Film Festival.

You can find more details about this event on our Events page.

New Spring 2016 Graduate Seminar – Media Pornography: The Issues”

New Spring 2016 Graduate Seminar
Communication 849: Seminar in Media and Identity
Professor: Cante
Wed 5:45-8:35pm
Hamilton Hall Room 423

“Media Pornography: The Issues”

This seminar will use pornography—and claims about it—to approach whole clusters of issues that are crucial for thinking not only about what sexuality is and how it operates, but also what media and technology are, what roles they play in our lives, and what roles we want them to play in our lives.

This will include the consideration of LGBTQI representations and identities just as much as it will involve the consideration of heterosexual representations and identities. When the former are appropriately taken into account, the longstanding popularity of pornography (and its unpopularity) appears to involve significantly different issues than it does when LGBTQI representations and identities are excluded, marginalized, or ill-considered. So do questions about precisely what is at stake in scholarly attention to pornography.

One of the overarching concerns of this class will be media pornography’s complex status as historical evidence. In pornography and in discussions of it, human beings have created a remarkable archive of materials that almost obsessively document all manner of social, cultural, intellectual, political, aesthetic, moral, and even biological change and upheaval. Very important rifts about such shifts are also recorded there. In fact, certain aspects of these contestations are not really documented elsewhere, and some are not really documented elsewhere with equivalent accessibility.

In part so that we can thoroughly explore some of the more specific complications that are wrapped up in that overarching concern, this course will be fundamentally interdisciplinary. I use this word in its strictest, most technical, and most extreme senses. Various sorts of knowledge, counter-knowledge, emotion, pleasure, danger, harm, rumination, critique, and so forth can be seen in pornography and its histories if you know how to see them there. But distinct disciplines and fields invent and advocate very different techniques for looking into such a phenomenon. They can therefore lead us to see, and to not see, essentially different things in it. Reflection upon various involved formations of thought and practice is especially necessary where this topic is concerned, since it now seems that arguments about it at certain points in time may have had as much to do with this as anything else. Even beyond Aesthetics, Art, Cinema, Computing, Economics, Ethics, Gender Studies, Information Studies, Journalism, Law, Marketing, Mass Communication Research, Medicine, Psychoanalysis, and Public Health–not to mention, say, something like Sexology–the list of seemingly crucial ones continues to go on and on.

However, the constantly changing gaps and fissures between such institutional and popular formations of thought might be even more important. This is the “dark matter” or “white space” from which the future largely emerges, and where the differential assumptions, tenets, facts, findings, and phantasies attached to reigning forms for knowledge and experience contradict one another and partially cancel each other out. In the process, newer configurations, as well as newer aporias, are also partly produced “there.” These conflicts, contradictions, and negations seem especially important in the workings of pornography. And approaches that take such aporias as primary can be especially helpful in explaining its encircling confusions, ambiguities and ambivalences as well as the brands of certainty that get more or less ephemerally attached to all that we think we know and feel about it. Furthermore, such approaches can offer dynamic modes and models of the kinds of analytical precision, acuity, and creativity that cannot at times be produced from more squarely within purportedly separate and autonomous divisions of the humanities, the social sciences, the sciences, and the schools of professional knowledge.

Consistent with everything that both Sexuality Studies and Media/Technology Studies have to offer when they are taken as necessarily interdisciplinary areas of study in the great chaos of the contemporary, this seminar is designed for graduate students in any department or discipline. Students need only be willing to grapple with the sometimes-prohibitive opacities of Other intellectual traditions and their modi operandi, and to be sometimes seriously frustrated in their attempts to sort through and decipher the entailed norms, values, eloquences, and silences.

Books will include the following, in whole or in part: Agamben, Nudities; Berlant (Ed.), Intimacy; Berlant/Edelman, Sex, The Unbearable; Bersani and Philips, Intimacies; Cornell (Ed.), Feminism and Pornography; Crimp, Our Kind of Movie; Dean, Ecstasy Unlimited; Dean (Ed.), Porn Archives; Foucault, The History of Sexuality; Kipnis, Bound and Gagged; Krauss, Male Beauty; McGlotten, Virtual Intimacies; Nash, The Black Body in Ecstasy; Osterweil, Flesh Cinema; Paasonen, Carnal Resonance; Penley et al. (Eds.), The Feminist Porn Book; Plato, Symposium; Williams, Hard Core; Williams (Ed.), Porn Studies; Damon Young, Making Sex Public; and Ian Young, The Stonewall Experiment. Shorter selections by some of the following writers: Philip Alcabes, Karen Barad, Jean Baudrillard, Eugenie Brinkema, Judith Butler, Steven Epstein, Jennifer Evans, Sigmund Freud, Elizabeth Grosz, Amy Herzog, David Johnson, John Durham Peters, Adam Philips, Dougal Philips, Claire Potter, Alan Soble, Jennifer Ward, Michael Warner, and Slavoj Zizek. A number of audio, visual, and moving-image works will also be required. Some of these will be works that have been much discussed. Others will be more randomly selected.

Main assignment: draft of an interesting and eventually publishable article for an academic publication, 25-30 pages before notes and references.

Program in Sexuality Studies for the Spring “Lunch ‘N Learn” Series – Dr. Benjamin Kahan

*Please join the Program in Sexuality Studies for the Spring “Lunch ‘N Learn” Series*


Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Kahan (Louisiana State University & National Humanities Center Fellow)

Talk: “Ray Johnson: S/M (Post)Master” 


Talk Description: Professor Kahan will speak about the visual artist Ray Johnson and his “S/M” poetics. A collagist and performance artist, Johnson was founder of the mail art network, the New York Correspondence School.


Where: Donovan Lounge in Greenlaw Hall (Rm. 223) 

When: Tuesday, March 7 from 12:15-1:45

Lunch will be served.  RSVP’s are appreciated but not required.  


We look forward to seeing you there!


Please direct any questions to Prof. GerShun Avilez (gavilez@email.unc.edu).